What Are The Cheapest Foods To Cater – 16 Cheap Catering Food Ideas

What are some of the best cheap catering food ideas?

If you want to cater an event, you’ll need to consider the costs. This means everything from how you present items to any staff you might need to prep and serve them. With this in mind, it’s helpful to know the cheapest catering options.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to keep to a budget without compromising quality or taste.

What Are The Cheapest Foods To Cater - 15 Cheap Catering Food Ideas

Catering is an excellent way for businesses to connect with their clients. Whether you’re looking to sell your products or services or simply share information, catering can be a great way to reach new customers.

1. Tacos


Tacos are incredibly versatile and deserve there place on our list of cheap catering food ideas.

They are delicious on their own, or great as part of a larger selection. To make them go further, serve them with chips, salsa, guacamole, sour cream or salsa verde. In addition, you can stretch out the protein in them by adding cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and coriander (cilantro).

A filling of beans, rice, chicken, pork, beef, or veggies will give tacos the extra kick necessary to satisfy guests’ hunger in between bites of chips.

Also, they can be eaten hot or cold and work as a snack, appetiser or main.

Have you considered going totally Mexican for your next event? See our piece on Mexican Catering Food Ideas

2. Pizzeria Rolls

Pizzeria Rolls

Pizza rolls are basically mini-pizzas wraps filled with your favourite ingredients. While this might sound like a lot of work, these little treats take very little time.

Firstly, slice up your favourite cold cuts, such as thin pepperoni or ham, and spread them evenly across your bread round.

Then, top this off your chosen extras – cheese, sauce, peppers, mushrooms, olives, banana peppers, BBQ chicken, sausage, ground turkey breast, eggplant, ricotta cheese, bacon bits – are all delicious.

Finally roll them up and slice them.

Once you’ve completed assembling the rolls, simply bake them for five minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). 

Looking for a the Best Pizza Places in Sydney? See our guide for suggestions

3. Potato Chips

We couldn’t really do a rundown of cheap catering food ideas and not include the humble chip.

Potato chips don’t necessarily have to be loaded with fat and calories. Many potato chip varieties now contain low-fat versions, and some brands offer reduced-sodium versions. 

And you can even make your own, if you have the time and inclination.

Confused about how much food you need. Our piece on Calculating Finger Food Quantities should help

4. Cheese Ball

Cheese Ball

Cheese balls are another easy dish to enjoy during parties.

Simply make a risotto, allow it to cool and then roll it into ball around a cube of cheese. A quick dredge in flour, egg and breadcrumbs before frying and viola!

Do you follow a plant-based diet and miss decent cheese? Take a look at our post on Vegan Cheese

5. Potato Pizza

Pizza Potatoes

If you’re hosting pizza nights often, it’s essential to find ways to make it healthier without sacrificing flavour.

Fortunately, potato-topped pizza is both delicious and a real money saver. Boost the flavours of this basic combo by adding fresh rosemary, caramelised onions, sea salt, chilli and even a few blobs of blue cheese.

Would you rather someone else did all the work? Read our article on Ultimo Catering and see if they are right for you.

6. Egg Rolls

Egg Rolls

Egg rolls are a great snack option. Although most people think about fried foods when thinking about egg rolls, they can also be made with rice noodles instead of fried.

Are you struggling to put together a menu? Take a peak at our Finger Catering Foods Ideas for some inspiration

7. Guacamole


Are you planning to serve drinks at your event? The CreativeWare 2.5-Gallon Bark Beverage Dispenser is hard to beat if you want value for money.

Guacamole is delicious, nutritious, high in fibre, and low in carbs. It’s also very versatile. If you’ve never tried this Mexican dish, here are some tips to help you master the art.

Firstly, buy avocados that feel heavy for their size. They should give slightly when pressed. Wash the avocado well.

Secondly, dice the avocado into small cubes.

Thirdly, add lime juice, minced garlic, salsa, and/or cilantro to taste, then with sprinkle sea salt, paprika, chilli powder, black pepper, or any seasoning.

Lastly, serve the guacamole immediately after mixing with a spoon.

Does this post make you feel like eating tacos and burritos? Then check our guide to the Best Mexican Restaurants in Melbourne.

8. Potato Salad

Potato Salad

There are many different potato salad recipes, but you don’t necessarily have to stick with traditional ones. You can create your own unique version that suits your dietary needs.

One way to reduce your calorie count while still enjoying the classic flavours of potato salad is to eliminate the mayonnaise. Instead, use low-fat plain yoghurt, sour cream, or Greek yoghurt.

Love Greek food? See our Easy Greek Dessert Recipes.

9. Sushi


Sushi is a popular Asian food option that has become extremely common throughout Australia.

Whilst we know that sashimi-grade salmon and tuna are very expensive, there are cheaper alternatives. Especially if you make it yourself.

Try using canned tuna, cucumber, carrot, avocado and pickles.

Getting married? Here are some Catering Food Ideas For Weddings

10. Stuffed Capsicum

Stuffed Peppers

Capsicum stuffed with cheese, rice, spices and (if you like) a little minced beef, is another inexpensive catering idea.

Furthermore, it’s easy to tweak the basic recipe to a particular cuisine. Try adding cumin coriander and turmeric for an Indian vibe or smoked paprika and chipotle for a Mexican spin.

Are you on the hunt for an Indian caterer? Perhaps Jeeta Catering are the right fit for you.

11. Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Have you considered making big bowls of different dishes for people to dip in to? It’s one of our top cheap catering food ideas.

Tuna noodle casserole is an American classic and on needs a few budget-friendly ingredients.

Have you looked at ordering your food from someone like Coles Catering or Woolworths Catering? You might be surprised by their value for money.

12. Vegetable Quiche

Vegetable Quiche

Quiches can be made with crustless pie dough, or a wheat crust. Quiche is a custardy pastry filled with savoury delights like vegetables, cheese and ham or bacon. Choose from sweet, spicy, or both.

You can even switch up the fillings depending on what you have available. Try experimenting with different vegetables, cheeses, herbs, spices, and seasonings.

Before baking, cover your quiche with aluminium foil and poke holes all over the top. Let cool at room temperature before serving.

One of the biggest problems when catering is keeping food at the right temperature. Whether you want to keep items hot or cold, these Bodaon Insulated Food Delivery Bags are an excellent investment. They are a great size, commercial grade and reusable.

13. Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf

Meatloaf is classic comfort food that’s perfect for any occasion. It’s easy to prepare and doesn’t require much time or effort. Plus, meatloaf is an excellent source of protein and high-quality B vitamins.

Therefore, why not make a meatloaf and slice it up to serve with pickles and salad. It’s one of our more interesting cheap catering food ideas.

Want some guidelines on How Many Catering Trays to provide? See our post.

14. Chilli Cheese Enchiladas

Chili Cheese Enchiladas

Chilli cheese enchiladas are packed full of flavour and spice. However, spending extra money on a plate of cheesy goodness may sound weird. Here’s where you get to save some cash while still enjoying delicious Mexican cuisine.

Canned beans are pretty cheap. However, taking the time to soak and cook your beans from scrap can save you even more cash.

Instead of buying tortillas, make your own using flour or cornmeal. Corn tortilla rolls work best when cooking. For a special touch, sprinkle shredded cheese on the bottom layer of the rolled-up burrito. Cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes per side.

15. Flavoured Popcorn

Popcorn is a real budget-buster and doesn’t have to be dull.

Up your popcorn game with interesting flavour combos like spicy sriracha, salted caramel and dukka and smoked paprika.

Do you need some Breakfast Catering Food Ideas? We can help.

16. Easy Mac

Easy Mac

Using boxed macaroni and cheese and adding a few other ingredients yields an affordable yet flavoursome main course option. 

Here are some of the Best Italian Restaurants in Perth


To conclude, cheap catering options are available to anyone who wants to make a quick and inexpensive meal for a party or special occasion.

No matter what type of meal you want to create, whether a buffet, finger foods, or appetisers, there is bound to be a cheap option.

Dylan Cole

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